Mask-optional policy begins at Providence schools

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Wearing face masks inside Providence Public Schools is optional for the first time in two years, starting Monday.

Gov. Dan McKee lifted the statewide school mask mandate in March, but Providence was one of two schools districts that decided to keep the mandate in place.

The district announced on Wednesday that masks would be optional, after school officials sent a survey to get feedback from the community. Out of 3,000 people who responded, 69% said they were in favor of making masks optional, according to the district.

The district’s COVID data shows a significant decrease in cases and an increase in vaccination.

As of Friday, just 5 covid cases were reported in the school district.
Providence schools have averaged less than 10 COVID cases per week for more than a month.
The district saw an average of 200 cases reported per week two months ago.
In terms of vaccination, 40% of students in The Providence School District are fully vaccinated.
45% percent have received a partial dose.
Though the data is a good sign, Providence schools superintendent Dr. Javier Montanez said there is a chance masks could come back.
“We are pleased to be at a point where the data shows it is safe for Providence Public Schools to move to a mask optional policy, If there’s a significant increase in cases whether it be in a specific school or community then that would be the reason we would go back to masks,” Superintendent Javier Montañez said.

“In Providence and districts across the state we are fortunately seeing a decline in students testing positive for COVID,” Infante-Green said in part in an email. “This is a positive milestone brought about by the district’s strong COVID mitigation efforts.”

The superintendent said the district will go back to masking if they see a spike in cases. Providence schools could also return to masking if advised by the Department of Health.

“We will continue to provide free vaccination clinics, free testing, and increased ventilation and sanitation in all schools,” said Montañez.

Categories: News, Providence, Rhode Island